The Queen's Conjurer by Benjamin Woolley
The Science and Magic of Dr. John Dee, Advisor to Queen Elizabeth I

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A fascinating portrait of one of the most brilliant, complex, and colorful figures of the Renaissance.

Although his accomplishments were substantial -- he became a trusted confidante to Queen Elizabeth I, inspired the formation of the British Empire, and plotted voyages to the New World-John Dee's story has been largely lost to history. Beyond the political sphere his intellectual pursuits ranged from the scientific to the occult. His mathematics anticipated Isaac Newton by nearly a century, while his mapmaking and navigation were critical to exploration. He was also obsessed with alchemy, astrology, and mysticism. His library was one of the finest in Europe, a vast compendium of thousands of volumes. Yet, despite his powerful position and prodigious intellect, Dee died in poverty and obscurity, reviled and pitied as a madman.

Benjamin Woolley tells the engrossing story of the rise and fall of this remarkable man, who wielded great influence during the pivotal era when the age of superstition collided with the new world of science and reason. Written with flair and vigor, based on numerous surviving diaries of the period, The Queen's Conjurer is a highly readable account of an extraordinary life.

About Benjamin Woolley

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Benjamin Woolley, a writer and broadcaster, covers both the arts and the sciences. His previous books include Virtual Worlds, an exploration of virtual reality, and The Bride of Science, a biography of Byron's brilliant daughter. He lives in London.
Published February 8, 2001 by Henry Holt and Co.. 320 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Religion & Spirituality, Travel. Non-fiction

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Part Leonardo da Vinci, part Galileo, and part Doctor Faustus, Dee appears as a compelling transitional scientific figure in this useful though flawed biography.

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Even though Dee could not escape the Aristotelian worldview, which held that the universe was teeming with Intelligences that made it go, he nonetheless approached these forces with enough rigor to prepare the intellectual ground for a worldview that saw the universe as a great machine.

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